Although the holidays are often a joyful time of the year, they can also cause stress. As a result of a global pandemic, many are dealing with the unique pressures associated with the holiday season. At this particular moment, you may feel as if your stress levels are higher. In the long run, stress can damage our health if we do not manage it properly.
You can manage your wellbeing this season with these 5 tips
Acknowledge the limits of this year
As with many of the other aspects of 2020-2021, a safe holiday season requires that we make some adaptations. Recognize that this year is still likely to be different from years past. Recognize that even if this season doesn’t look like you expected it to, there is still room for joy if you choose to let it in. With this perspective, you can look at the facts without being burdened by comparisons with what cannot be.
Holiday commercialization in conjunction with social media highlight reels make for the perfect competition. It is possible that there will be more things you are not able to do this year than in previous seasons. You may not be able to prepare the holiday dinner you eagerly anticipated with a family member who is immunocompromised. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot still enjoy a meaningful celebration within your current framework in place. Identify what is important to you. In the midst of COVID-19, many traditions may have to be disrupted in a disheartening way. It may be sad, staying aligned with what’s important but may inspire you to adapt your customs in ways that promote a happy, healthy holiday.
Many of us feel the holiday stress, it’s important for you take care of yourself. You may have an increased number of events on your calendar during the holiday season. Even though you have less social engagements during a pandemic, planning, shopping, and preparations still take up a considerable amount of time and cause some stress. Additionally, caregivers often focus on others, and it becomes easy to neglect themselves in the process. However, you must also take care of yourself if you wish to be able to tend to others. Investing in your health and well-being will enable you to be more present, engaged, energized, helpful, and healthy.
Identify your holiday stress
We all experience stress, but it can look different from person to person. The first step to managing stress, is to know your symptoms so you can intervene sooner rather than later. Determine if there are any signs of stress in your life. Take time to consider what drives you in that direction as well as what serves as a buffer. As an example, say you tend to get nervous in social settings, having pandemic anxiety exacerbates your stress levels whereas using technology helps you to feel more at ease.The ability to recognize your limits stems from being aware of your stressors. You can more effectively manage them by being aware of your personal boundaries. Stress is better handled in small spurts than ignoring or minimizing it, and then finding yourself in a bad way when deciding on a dessert platter. In addition to being aware of your limits, you can also appropriately practice self-care practices, such as deep breathing, taking a break, asking for help, or resting.
Given the unique circumstance of celebrating this holiday season in a pandemic, many of us may have to reconsider what our holiday season boundaries are. If we don’t know what our boundaries are, we cannot communicate them, we cannot expect others to respect them. You may feel a bit uncomfortable with setting some of these boundaries, especially if they are new or if you are unsure of how they will be received. Despite these awkward feelings, establish your boundaries.
If you find yourself struggling with the stress of this time and these tips are difficult for you, it may be a sign that you could utilize help from a local mental health professional. You do not have to handle this alone, and you can find a trained clinician by reaching out to us at 720.583.9332 or learn more at Mountain Vista Psychology. This holiday season follow CDC guidelines for celebrating with family.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!